Wendy and I took our fruit salad to a Labor Day celebratory picnic. It was a neighborhood party, but not in our neighborhood. It was our friends Bonnie & Rose's neighborhood. They live on the other side of the highway. Which is how locations are defined here in Mount Vernon. "Which side of the highway are you on? Oh okay. I'm from the other side near the river."
They live in one of those townhouse communities cozied up around a man-made lake with jogging paths and ducks and other delights of surburbia. Bonnie & Rose, along with their neighbors, tote tables, coolers, chairs, barbeques and the like out to the common area behind their homes. Lakeside. One lady even brought her mosquito zapper. Everyone brought food. Oh, and music. There was definitely music. And a few children. And interloping friends, like us.
So we ate, drank, chit-chatted with strangers and the few familiar faces we knew. One thing Wendy and I found amazing was the number of lesbians there. What, was this a whole cul-de-sac full of lesbians? A hidden suburban enclave? Have we been living on the heterosexual side of the highway for all these years? But there was a fair representation of traditional folks too. It was a nice blend and everyone got along famously. But wow. We obviously need to get out more.
Wendy and I found ourselves standing with Melinda (another interloper from the other side of the highway) in the screened tent in Bonnie and Rose's back yard. They leave it up all summer as they like to sit outside and drink wine without feeding the mosquitos. But because folks were coming and going that day, the doors were wide open and bugs were coming and going also.
So as we stood there in the shade of the screened tent, something behind Melinda's head caught my eye. I instantly identified it as a fly. But it was not just any fly. Not fruit fly, nor house fly, nor deer fly, nor horse fly, nor dragon fly, nor any other type of fly I had ever seen before in my life. And I've seen my fair share of flies. Sure, it looked like a house fly. BUT IT WAS AS BIG AS MY THUMB! (And I have freakishly large hands!!!)
It was obviously some breed of mutant fly only found on that side of the highway. (Which must be true because I've lived on the river side of the highway for nigh on 35 years and I've NEVER seen anything like That Fly!) It was also (thankfully!) a very lazy fly, because instead of zipping around and dive bombing us to greedily rip huge chunks of flesh from our faces and other exposed areas, it was merely resting peacefully on the inside of the tent.
It may have been the horrified look on my face. Or maybe it was the gasp of distress which inadvertently escaped my lips. Whatever it was, both Wendy and Melinda turned and followed my riveted gaze to the spot on the tent. Where That Fly Rested.
Wendy caught my eye and I watched the color drain from her face. "OMFG!" she mouthed silently. "Is that a fly?" she wondered outloud, sounding remarkably unconcerned considering the circumstance.
Suddenly there was a broom in Melinda's hand. Where that broom came from, I have no clue. It hadn't been there a moment prior. Wendy and I looked at each other in horror. Was this woman going to challenge that creature armed only with a broom?!?!? While we were all still standing in the tent!!?!?! Had she lost her mind?!?!!
My first impulse was to the wrestle the broom away from her and toss it into the lake. But manners precluded that action. Wendy and I eyed the exit, each doing a mental calculation as to how fast we could make it out the door if that broom got any where near That Fly. We each took a step toward the door, slowly distancing ourselves from Melinda, the broom and That Fly. Because flies, you know, fly! Once she disturbed its peaceful nap, who knew what hell would break loose!
She swiped at it and missed. Still That Fly didn't move, didn't even flex a wing. Wendy and I crept closer to the exit, wondering how the hell she missed. She was swinging a broom at a humongous target, for pete's sake! Melinda assumed a different stance, her feet set widely apart while holding the broom as one would hold a lance during a joust. She was about to let loose and joust That Fly when Bonnie entered the tent. "What's going on, y'all?" she inquired.
We all pointed at That Fly.
And that's when she did it. Bonnie, that is. Without hestitation, in the blink of an eye, before we could even process what was about to happen, she whipped a napkin out of her pocket. Got up on her tippy-toes. Held that napkin in her bare hand and wrapped it around That Fly. Then bent over and tucked the napkin, in which That Fly was now wrapped, partially under one of her feet. As she straightened up, she planted her other foot on the napkin and started doing The Twist, grinding that napkin and That Fly (om mani padme hung) into oblivion.
The three of us just stared at her with our mouths hanging open. Had we just seen what we thought we just saw? Little Bonnie is a fearless bug smasher! Who knew?
I never did see That Fly fly.
And I'll never look at Bonnie the same again.